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Permitless Carry Not Enough for Gun Owners Who Say DeSantis Supports Open Carry

Now that DeSantis is on record for supporting open carry without a permit, Floridians on both sides of the debate sour on the concealed carry bill.

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TALLAHASSEE, FLORIDA — Sponsors of HB 543 likely expected opposition from gun safety advocates when they revealed a proposal to allow concealed carry of a firearm without a permit. But as the bill moves through the legislature, just as many disgruntled Second Amendment supporters are now saying the bill doesn’t go far enough.

Members of Gun Owners of America, the NRA and other pro-Second Amendment groups say the bill should focus on true “constitutional carry,” allowing for the open, visible carrying of a firearm. Now Governor Ron DeSantis is on record saying he agrees.


In Jacksonville where DeSantis was promoting his new book, “The Courage to Be Free,” the governor can be heard saying “I don’t think they’ll do it,” when asked if lawmakers would pass an open carry law.

“But, I would absolutely,” said DeSantis.  

Luis Valdes, Florida director of Gun Owners of America, said his exchange with DeSantis is encouraging for the open carry movement.


The Florida Standard reported last month on some Florida residents and Republican politicians who are calling the proposal a “bait and switch.” HB 543 sailed through two committees and is now on the House Calendar. But the bill still needs approval from the Rules & Calendar Committee before being heard on the House floor.

“To call this bill constitutional carry is an insult to our intelligence,” said Bob White, the chairman of the Republican Liberty Caucus of Florida.

Gun Owners of America’s Senior VP Erich Pratt released a video over the weekend encouraging residents and members who don’t live in Florida to “call the Florida Legislature and tell them you support Governor DeSantis and want to see open carry added to the bill.”

“He supports permitless carry for both open and concealed carry,” said Pratt. “That’s great news. And remember, Governor DeSantis’ new book states plainly ‘The Courage to be Free,’ that’s both the title and the message of his book.”


Democrats have pushed back on the bill’s failure to require any training. Rep. Christine Hunschofsky (D-Parkland) called the proposal “untrained carry” when it was first introduced.

But Rep. Chuck Brannan (R-Macclenny), one of the bill’s sponsors, says he encourages training but did not include it as a requirement in the bill.

“I don’t think it says in the United States Constitution that you have to have training to carry a gun,” he said, reminding critics that it is a personal responsibility to learn how to handle a gun properly.